Funeral care employee accused of stealing deceased veteran’s laptop computer

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – When Donna Besch learned of her brother’s passing, she jumped in her truck and headed south to Florida. Besch lives in Pennsylvania, her brother, David Zug was living in an assisted living facility in St. Petersburg where he died.

Zug served more than 20-years with the Navy. He died at the age of 77.

David Zug was a Vietnam Veteran who spent 22-years in the U.S. Navy. He passed away in March at the age of 77.

Besch arrived at the ALF and immediately went to his room.

“When I got down to Florida and got into his room, I noticed there were some things that should have been there that were missing,” said Besch. “One of them being his computer.” Besch noticed the computer wasn’t there, because her brother had just purchased it.

She asked the ALF if she could look at the surveillance video, but that didn’t work out, so she filed a report with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Donna Besch’s brother, David Zug’s laptop was stolen after he passed away. She spoke via Facetime from her home in Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday, deputies arrested 51-year old Clyde Dennis Pittard, an employee of Veteran’s Funeral Care.

Pittard went to the ALF on the day of Zug’s death to retrieve his body, and that’s when investigators say he also stole Zug’s brand new laptop. Detectives believe Pittard took the machine and pawned it in Tampa.

Pittard is now facing a grand theft charge in Pinellas County and charges for dealing in stolen property and false information to a pawnbroker in Hillsborough County. Besch is disgusted with his actions.

“It’s devastatingly hurtful,” said Besch. “I feel like he just violated my brother while my brother was gone.”

Jim Rudolph is the president of Veteran’s Funeral Care and says Pittard had worked for the business for six or seven years, and there was never a problem. He fired Pittard after learning of the allegations. He has one word to describe his former employee’s actions.

“My word for it is pitiful,” said Rudolph. “You’ve got a guy that came from a military family, father, brother. He had a background working at a funeral home in Washington D.C. before he came down here.”

Besch wishes she would have installed a surveillance camera system in her brother’s apartment and would advise others who have loved ones in an assisted living facility to do the same. She believes it could have even been a deterrent in a case like this.

Now, she wonders, if her brother was Pittard’s only victim?

“I just found it so disrespectful,” said Besch. “How many other people has this happened to? You know? How many other times has this man done this? “

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